Saturday, June 26, 2010

storms and phones


There were tornadoes and thunderstorms in the area again last night. Regis and I had gone downtown to meet a friend and we had checked the weather radar. It didn't look too bad, at least not ominous. All of a sudden, the televisions started blaring storm warnings, then the television would lose the signal. Anybody who lived in St. Peter in 1998 remembers that we lost contact with KRBI and Bruce Davis right before the tornado hit. The bar was silent as people watched the black screen.

They had a plan to lead everyone to the basement and serve them warm Coors Light but as tempting as that sounded, Regis and I waited until things let up a little then headed home. I'm glad we did because the sirens sounded soon after and we headed to the basement. We were in touch with all kids by text to make sure they were safe. Peter was working at Subway and they had closed so he was hovering close to the walk-in cooler. Tiffany and Elliot were safe in a basement in Eagle Lake. Everyone was safe but I was scared.

As most storms do, this one eventually passed and the sky lightened. It could be a bad summer for storms.

The friend we went to meet had some kind of smart phone which meant she pulled it out of her purse every two minutes to see if something (what? a text message? an email?) had arrived. I've noticed people doing this at meetings, too, now. Phones are always out on the table. They buzz and their owners respond.

This is going to take a whole new set of social norms where it's ok to ignore the person you're with to check your electronic device habitually for an important message about what...an impending heart transplant? It makes me want to throw the things across the room. Really? Can't we just shut them off while we have a glass of wine on Friday afternoon?

I remember when we had one phone in the kitchen with a cord eighteen inches long. You had to stand in front of it to use it. There were ten other people on our line so even if you had time to use the phone, it might not be available. When people called and you weren't home, they didn't get to leave a message and you didn't have caller ID to know they called. If it was important, they called back. It seemed to work.

And don't even get me started on those stupid ear mullet things. Really. We're too lazy to pick up the cell phone?

I know I am being an old crank this morning. Hey, maybe this is one of those generational things. Read this:
Pew also noted 68 percent of Gen X’ers, 50 percent of Boomers and 20 percent of the Silent Generation have slept with their cell phone either on or right next to their bed. Twenty-four percent of Gen X’ers, 13 percent of Boomers and 5 percent of the Silent Generation do not have a landline at home.

On a happier note, something interesting I read this morning: 

Drink, Pray, Sing: My Annual Male Pilgrimage: How bluegrass, bourbon, and deviled eggs keep the men in my family sane, and the women in our lives happy for at least one week a year.

I'm going to exercise and meet a friend for coffee. That ought to improve my outlook!


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